Saturday, September 13, 2008

Shades of Lipstick Tint a Race

Here's an article about the lipstick on a pig "controversy":
Shades of Lipstick Tint a Race

LEBANON, Va. – It’s been quite a week for lipstick.

Last week, Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska and vice presidential candidate, introduced herself to the Republican National Convention by asking a question: What’s the difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom, which is how she typically describes herself.

“Lipstick,” she said, in the line of the night.

Here in Lebanon today, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois also made his own lipstick allusion, drawing on a very old aphorism as he belittled attempts by Senator John McCain and Republicans to embrace the change mantle that has been central to his campaign.

“John McCain says he’s about change, too – except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics,” Mr. Obama said. “That’s not change. That’s just calling the same thing something different. You can put lipstick on a pig – it’s still a pig.”

At that point, Mr. Obama paused for just a moment, no doubt imagining the whoops that were going up at the McCain headquarters where they were no doubt monitoring the speech, and aware of the extent to which both campaigns are seeking to seize on anything even approaching a slip of the tongue.

So he added: “You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change, it’s still going to stink after eight years. We’ve had enough of the same old thing.”

For the record, Mr. Obama did not even mention Ms. Palin until a few minutes later in his speech. Still, within 45 minutes, Mr. McCain’s campaign – well aware of the competition for the women’s vote and how this might be interpreted among women voters – leapt onto the remark. Jane Swift, the former governor of Massachusetts, held a conference call to demand that Mr. Obama apologize, and called the remarks “disgraceful.”

And Mr. Obama’s campaign responded by digging up a quote by Mr. McCain in 2007 in which he was criticizing a health care plan by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. “I think they put some lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig,” Mr. McCain said.

O.K., one last Obama-McCain campaign exchange on this and then (forgive us), That’s All, Folks!

Palin campaign spokesman Maria Comella: “Barack Obama’s comments today are offensive and disgraceful. He owes Governor Palin an apology “

Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki: “That expression is older than my grandfather’s grandfather and it means that you can dress something up but it doesn’t change what it is. He was talking pretty clearly about the fact that you can’t just call yourself change when you’ve voted with George Bush 90 percent of time.”


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